Winter Time at an Anchorage Drive-In Theater
by Michael R Dougherty
Anchorage Drive-In Theater
The picture above is either the old Billiken or Sundowner Drive-in theater in Anchorage.
Remember going to one of the drive-in theaters in Anchorage during the winter months?
One of the good things at that time of year was that it was actually dark enough outside to see the movie on the screen. In the Summer months, it was hard to see the movie because it was still light outside.
In the winter, you had to roll down your driver's side car window, grab the speaker and hang it off your window so you could hear the movie. Of course that meant cold air and maybe even snow coming into your car.
The Sundowner drive-in, located behind the Fireweed indoor theater, also had small heaters hanging on the post beside your car. The Billiken may have also offered heaters, but I don't remember that drive-in very well.
The heaters would blow warm air into your vehicle. If the heater was working. Sometimes, when you first turned them on, they would blow snow and ice into your car.
And lets not forget that cold trip to the concession stand. Here you were in your nice, warm car, and if you wanted a soda, popcorn or those burgers and fries they sold, some poor soul had to volunteer to make the cold trek from the warmth of your car to the waiting concession stand.
But Alaskans are a hearty breed and aren't about to let something like a little cold and snow keep them from an otherwise fun evening at a drive-in movie.
Sadly, most drive-in theaters are a thing of the past across the lower 48. But in Anchorage, Alaska we all have memories of driving our cars and trucks into the theater and parking in one of those spaces next to a speaker post.
And near the end of the movie you would always hear this come over your car speaker - "the concession stand will close in 10 minutes. The concession stand will close in 10 minutes."
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